Defendants in Gerardi Murder Ask for Confession

Guatemala Trial Set to Open Thursday

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

GUATEMALA CITY, MAR. 21, 2001 ( Three military men, whose trial in the murder of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera starts Thursday, have asked his successor to hear their confessions.

They reminded the successor, Bishop Mario Ríos Montt, that he must observe the secrecy of the sacrament.

The three accused are Colonel Disrael Lima Estrada, former chief of military intelligence; his son, Captain Byron Lima Oliva; and former military expert Obdulio Villanueva. Also accused are Father Mario Orantes and the former parish cook, Margarita López.

Bishop Gerardi was bludgeoned to death April 26, 1998, in the garage of his northern Guatemala City seminary. Bishop Montt replaced Bishop Gerardi as auxiliary bishop of Guatemala and coordinator of the human rights office of the Archdiocese of Guatemala.

The military men´s requests came after Bishop Montt asked them to stop obstructing justice. Last week the military men´s attorneys sought legal relief, saying that a mistake was made on Bishop Gerardi´s death certificate on the time and date of his murder.

Bishop Gerardi, a known defender of human rights, was killed two days after he presented a report on human rights violations during the 36-year civil war that ended in 1996. Most violations were attributed to the army.

A press statement sent by the military men´s attorneys requests that Bishop Montt hear their confessions and «then, Monsignor, from the depths of your heart and without violating the secrecy of the confessional, you will be able to decide what attitude you deem best to adopt.»

Leopoldo Zeissing, the attorney in charge of the case, said the trial will be «a box of surprises.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation